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BioSpace BioPharm Exec
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
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Smaller is Smarter

The Wall Street Journal recently noted that biotech funding is getting harder to find -- something that won't come as news to many struggling young companies and entrepreneurs. Biotech venture finding that peaked at almost $6.2 billion in 2007 fell to $3.9 billion in 2011, according to VentureSource. And the article goes on to note that "Big Pharma companies, whose deals with biotechs provide another major source of funding, are driving harder bargains, increasingly tying their investments to proof of success."

Certainly times are tough--times are always tough -- for biotech entrepreneurs trying to raise the millions necessary to get a concept off the ground. But despite the tone of this article, there are reasons to be optimistic. More...

More By Karl Thiel

Targacept offers a reminder that phase 2 results--even stunningly positive ones--can be misleading. The company's TC-5214 once looked like a slam dunk in treating major depressive disorder, performing up to three times better on one standard assessment than any available treatment. But after failing to confirm these results in four phase 3 trials, TC-5214 has been discontinued, Targacept is downsizing, and its partner AstraZeneca is out over $200 million. The saga raises another important issue: Those glowing phase 2 results came out of India but the phase 3 studies were conducted largely in the U.S. and Europe. It's not the first time that clinical results have failed to translate across borders, particularly when results call for a somewhat subjective assessment. -KT
AstraZeneca PLC (AZN), Targacept, Inc. (TRGT) Give Up on Antidepressant Drug After All Four Phase 3 Studies Fail

Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD)'s Four-in-One AIDS Pill is Effective in Study

Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ANTH) Tanks as it Halts Phase III VISTA-16 Heart Drug Trial

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)'s Zytiga Scores Big Win, Hurts Dendreon Corporation (DNDN), Helps Medivation, Inc. (MDVN)

Omeros Corporation (OMER)' Eye Drug OMS302 Meets Phase 3 Clinical Trial Goal

More Bench To Clinic News
The story of the U.S. economy has been the haves and have-nots--job losses have been steep in the manufacturing sector while unemployment for people with college degrees has long stuck around 4.2%. In the life sciences, we're seeing the opposite: Job losses in R&D have been brutal while manufacturing jobs are actually creeping back--see GlaxoSmithKline's announcement this month about plans to build its first new U.K. manufacturing facility in almost 40 years. The plant will provide many highly skilled jobs, so this isn't about the rise of blue collar opportunities over white collar positions. Still, there's a touch of irony to the news. -KT
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to Create 1,000 New Jobs in $793.7 Million Investment

Abbott Laboratories (ABT) CEO, Execs See Pay Cut; Pfizer Inc. (PFE)'s Chief Ian Read's Pay Triples First Year on Job

Stemline Therapeutics, Inc. Appoints Kevin Buchi, Former CEO of Cephalon, Inc. (CEPH), to Its Board of Directors

Sanofi (France) (SAN.PA) CEO: Who Needs Big Pharma Scientists?

Outgoing Amgen (AMGN) CEO May Receive $49 Million After Retirement

More Career Track News

Pfizer is severing its ties with Biocon for reasons that aren't entirely clear. Pfizer is walking away from at least $100 million it has given to Biocon less than 18 months after inking the deal. The companies say they have differing priorities for their biosimilars programs, but little beyond that. Shire, much in the news lately (see Rockville Files, as well as its acquisition of FerroKin), has decided to move forward with a preclinical compound from its partner Heptares. Heptares has a technology to stabilize G-couple protein receptors so that they can crystallized, leading to structure-based design work that is usually impossible with this class of protein. Since a huge proportion of commercially successful drugs target GPCRs, and since structure-based approaches have yielded many successes, there are a lot of eyes on Heptares. -KT
BioCon Limited (BIOCON.NS) Plunges After Pfizer Inc. (PFE) Scraps $350 Million Insulin Pact

Heptares Grants Shire plc (SHPGY) an Exclusive Worldwide $190 Million License to Develop and Commercialise Novel Drug Candidate for CNS Disorders

Mersana Therapeutics, Inc. Strikes $270 Million Antibody-drug Conjugate Deal With Endo Pharmaceuticals (ENDP)

Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (WPI) Close to $7 Billion Actavis Drug Deal: Sources

EpiStem Ltd Announces a Three Year Collaboration With GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Fibrosis Research

More Golden Handshakes News

Top Jobs
• Biotech Bay (South San Francisco, California)

Elan Pharmaceuticals
Sr. Director, Corporate Compliance
Supports the Office of Compliance and the Corporate Compliance Program. Responsibilities include but are not limited to, assisting with the execution of the compliance strategy, development of policies and procedures and assisting with the development and implementation of the company's training program.

• Bio NC (Winston-Salem, North Carolina)

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
President, Piedmont Triad Research Park and Chief Innovation Officer for the Medical Center
Duties: Oversees and accelerate processes for the identification, development, and commercialization of intellectual property originating from the research of WFBMC's faculty and staff; Better integrate Medical Center and industry research and development to bring products and services that will improve human health to the marketplace etc.

• Southern Pharm (Memphis, Tennessee)

Meridian Bioscience Inc.
Sr. Director of Operations
Provides direction and leadership for operations to ensure that manufacturing needs, department and company goals are met. Key Duties: Initiates, directs and oversees in collaboration with other company Directors, Managers to develop and execute the Operating Plan for the facility. Oversee the activities of the Manufacturing and Materials staff in their day to day functions etc.

• Biotech Bay (San Francisco Bay Area, California)

VP, Global Regulatory Affairs - DX
The qualified candidate will be reporting to a technically astute and highly collaborative executive. To perform well in this position will require a Bay Area-based regulatory expert who has a success record in medical device international filings, clinical activities, and thought leader outreach. This role provides a unique, high-impact opportunity to significantly improve the quality of life for a large, global patient population.

Get Noticed! Add your resume to the BioSpace Career Center!
See more than 5,000 job postings in the BioSpace Career Center!

Biotech Beach Career Fair Biotech Beach Career Fair
Hyatt Regency La Jolla, Tuesday, April 17, 2012, 1pm to 6pm. Job seekers can spend a day with HR representatives and Hiring Managers from top biotech, pharma, and medical device companies in the Southern California region.
BioCapital Career Fair BioCapital Career Fair
Bethesda North Marriott & Conference Center, Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 11am to 4pm. Job seekers can spend a day with HR representatives and Hiring Managers from top biotech, pharma, and medical device companies in the Mid-Atlantic region.
GlaxoSmithKline and J&J aren't the only ones forming new venture funds. The Wellcome Trust is putting 200 million pounds behind British life science companies. While the goals of the charity are somewhat different than those of the Big Pharma, there is a similar impulse here: Fill some of the gulf left by risk-averse investors who fled the sector in the wake of the financial crisis. -KT
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Plot $200 Million Biotech Fund With Index Ventures

Wellcome Trust to Launch $318 Million Biotech Start-up Fund

Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Closes $20 Million Series B Financing

Rusnano, US Fund to Invest $760 Million in Pharma Venture

4s3 Bioscience Lands $20 Million in Venture Funding

More Money Talk News

The Supreme Court recently decided that a blood test developed by Prometheus Laboratories could not be patented because it was simply reciting an unpatentable law of nature. When it came time to consider the case of Myriad Genetics and its BRCA patents, the High Court decided to send the case back to the appellate court to be reconsidered in light of this new Prometheus decision. That's certainly not the worst outcome for Myriad, since the appellate court has already proven friendly to their viewpoint and may remain so even in light of this new decision. At least the Supremes, who have proven leery of biology patents, aren't hearing the case themselves.

Prosecutors in Philadelphia had reached a tentative settlement agreement over J&J's alleged off-label promotion of Risperdal, but the Feds want more. Lesson: The government is not going soft on off-label promotion. Be warned.

Another news flash: Big stock moves on binary decisions = temptation to insider trading. Lesson: Regulators are aware of this. Be warned. -KT
Supreme Court Orders New Look at Gene Patents

Government Nixes Tentative $1 Billion Settlement With Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)

Former FDA Chemist Gets 5 Years for Insider Trading

Apotex Inc. Drug Maker Sues U.S. for $520 Million Under NAFTA

Forest Laboratories, Inc. (FRX), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Sue Several Drug Makers Over Bystolic

More Legal Briefs News
FDA rejected MAP Pharmaceuticals' inhalable migraine drug Levadex, but apparently only because of manufacturing issues. The stock market is thus far being relatively kind to the company. But there was good news on several other drugs in the past month, including...finally...Surfaxin from Discovery Laboratories. (This was their fifth--fifth!--attempt to satisfy FDA they could reliably manufacture the drug.) Despite some recent financing, Discovery is tight on cash, and with two approved products and a pipeline that includes an improved Surfaxin and an intriguing surfactant product that does not require intubation, it may get some attention from acquisitive companies. -KT
MAP Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (MAPP) Shares Dive After FDA Rejects Migraine Drug

FDA Approves Discovery Laboratories (DSCO) Respiratory Drug for Preemies

FDA Approves Aptalis Pharmaceutical Technologies' 2 Drugs for Rare Digestive Disorders

Talon Therapeutics, Inc. (HNAB)' Marqibo(R) Wins Backing of FDA Advisory Panel

Shire plc (SHPGY) Drops After Pulling US Application for Replagal, Move Gives Sanofi (France) (SAN.PA) a Boost

More Rockville Files News

Karl Thiel is an analyst for The Motley Fool, a columnist for BioWorld Today, and a contributor to Nature Biotechnology. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

You may contact Karl Thiel at Karl.thiel@biospace.com.

BioSpace, Inc.
6465 South Greenwood Plaza, Suite 400
Centennial, Colorado 80111 U.S.A.
Phone: 877-277-7585
Fax: 800-595-2929
BioSpace, Inc.
90 New Montgomery Street, Suite 414
San Francisco, California 94105 U.S.A.
Phone: 877-277-7585
Fax: 415-576-9217

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